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Database: Alexander Graham Bell

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ACS DB Alexander Graham Bell

Date of Birth: 3 March 1847.

From the day he was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, sound and communication were very important in Alexander Graham Bell's life. His father was a highly respected speech therapist and elocutionist, and at the age of 12, young Aleck's mother lost her hearing. His father developed a phonetic alphabet aimed at teaching the deaf to speak while Aleck himself learned to communicate with his mother by speaking into the side of her head so she could feel the vibrations of his voice. Rebecca does something similar whenever I try to block her out.

The other thing that defined Aleck's life was his natural inventiveness. By the time he was a teenager, Bell had already created a system for dehusking wheat. But then I suppose we all do crazy things when we're teenagers. Plus, with the help of his brothers Melville and Edward, he developed an automaton that could speak by blowing air from a bellows while manipulating the machine's "lips." The Bell boys were able to get the machine to articulate crude words like "mama." And you thought ventriloquism was tough to sit through.

Bell's genius was such that he was hired as a "pupil-teacher" of elocution and music at Weston House in Scotland. His family moved to London around the same time - Aleck would join them in 1867 after Edward died of tuberculosis. While in London, Aleck attended the University of London and worked for his father, providing speech therapy and teaching his father's phonetical alphabet to the deaf. And, it seems, crafting nifty gadgets for a pair of Assassins.

History had managed to document that creepy bloody automaton, but there's not a word about his interactions with Jacob and Evie Frye. As it should be.

Anyway, Aleck and his parents moved to Canada in 1870 after Melville, like his brother, succumbed to tuberculosis. Aleck himself was showing symptoms of the disease, but thankfully for all of humankind, he recovered and would go on to invent, among other things, the dumb version of the smartphone.

Bell passed away the 2nd of August, 1922, at the age of 75. When his body was interred two days later, phone traffic was shut down for a minute in his honour. If people weren't crying over Bell's death, shutting down the phone lines would do the trick.

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